You’re probably familiar with the concept of distressed furniture but did you ever wonder how that special look is obtained? The process of distressing furniture is actually a fairly simple one. The whole idea behind it is to make a piece of furniture or an object appear aged or older than it actually is. Naturally-distressed pieces are the most sought-after and the ones that inspired this whole trend that’s getting more and more popular by the day.

A lot of things can be distressed but it’s usually easier to work with wooden surfaces
Cabinets, sideboards and dressers are really easy to distress

The goal in this case is to give an object a weathered look and in order to do this several different techniques can be used. During the process, the object’s finish is intentionally destroyed or transformed in order to make it look less perfect. Imperfections are actually desired in this case. When you’re distressing a piece of furniture you have to remove some but not all of the paint and to do that you can use sandpaper or a paint stripper. The goal is to offer some subtle proof of the several layers of paint underneath and to give the piece a worn look.

Adjust your distressing technique according to the design and structure of the piece you’re transforming
Wood is not the only material that you can distress so don’t stop there
It’s easy to get carried away when distressing furniture or accent pieces so check your progress regularly

One of the most wonderful surfaces to work with in this case is solid pine furniture. It’s ideal to apply distressing to such a furniture piece and the results are exquisite. The final appearance is often called a patina and this term is usually used when describing antique pieces. Keep in mind that distressing can be applied to various different types of surfaces, not just wood. This includes glass, metal, plastic, stone, concrete and even plaster.

Some old furniture pieces are worth preserving and in such a case a worn look suits them best
Something completely new can be made to look old if the right techniques are used

Distressed furniture is often perceived as having a shabby chic style and you can expect to see it in rustic, vintage, industrial but also Nordic or contemporary interior decors. The techniques you can use if you want to distress something are quite diverse. You can try to deliberately sand, dent or scrape and finish off your piece of furniture. If it’s made of wood, you can also try hammering, bleaching, staining or repainting the piece and for that you can use crackling paints or varnishes.

A few little rough spots are enough to offer character to an already beautiful piece of furniture
When distressing furniture, it’s important to know where and how to use sandpaper to get an authentic look

You can find antiquing paints and varnishes in craft stores but, if you want, you can also mix them at home. When applying new layers of paint, you can water down the mixture if you want to let the wood and the previous layers show through. Also, new layers of paint can be sponged on to create an uneven finish. At the end, you can sand down the corners and the hardware or to paint them slightly lighter to make them appear worn.

If your furniture piece has carved details then just lightly sand those spots to reveal some of the paint or finish underneath
Not everything has to be distressed if you want to create a shabby chic decor

The cost of such projects is usually low and very few tools and materials are needed. The result is a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture unlike any other in the world, with a vintage or rustic look that you can use to your advantage. Consider such a makeover if you’re dealing with an old piece of furniture that you’re sentimentally attached to or with a totally new piece that needs more character.

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